Mindanao regions on alert following 2 grenade blasts PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 18 September 2014 11:40

Security forces are on full alert in keys cities of Mindanao following two separate grenade attacks that wounded eight people and destroyed a warehouse Tuesday night in General Santos City, the country’s Tuna Capital. and in Lamitan City, Basilan,a stronghold of the militant al-qaeda linked Abu Sayyaf.

The two blasts came amid persistent reports of terror attacks from threat groups like the Abu Sayyaf and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).

Supt. Rolly Octavio, deputy city police director for administration in General Santos City and Lamitan police chief Sr. Insp. Gean Gallardo both disclosed that security measures were doubled in in their areas of responsibility in the wake of the grenade blasts, that happened three days after the culmination of Gen. Santos City’s 16th Tuna Festival which was attended by hundreds of businesmen from all over the Philippines.

No one was hurt in the Lamitan attack that took place on a businessman’s warehouse.

Top police officials disclosed that police units in Mindanao are on extra alert status even before the twin blasts which happened in a span of two hours.

Supt. Octavio said investigators are looking on a number of angles in the explosion that occurred on a plaza in front of Gen. Santos city hall building at past 7 p.m.

He told reporters Wednesday that investigation is still ongoing

As of now, no shrapnels or fragments have been found. Investigation is still continuing as to the motives and culprits of the crime,” said a statement issued by the City Police Office, Army-led Joint Task Force GenSan

“We’re still determining what type of grenade was used and its materials. We don’t want to speculate as to the motive and the identity of the suspects so we’re considering all possible angles,” Octavio said in an interview over television program Magandang Umaga in South Central Mindanao.

He said they will continue with the post-blast investigation on Wednesday morning after it was temporarily suspended late Tuesday due to the rains.

Octavio said men from the Region 12 police’s crime laboratory and members of explosives ordnance disposal teams of the city police and the Philippine Army will conduct another sweep of the blast site to locate any shrapnels and other evidences.

He said the city police director, Senior Supt. Froilan Quidilla, also directed investigators to secure footages from closed-circuit television cameras set up near the site to assist their investigation.

As of Wednesday morning, Octavio said they recorded a total of nine persons, mostly students, who sustained various injuries as a result of the explosion.

General Santos City Ronnel Rivera, who was on his way to Davao City when the explosion happened and had to rush back to the city.

Rivera ordered city police personnel and other law enforcement units to speed up the investigation of the incident and identify the possible suspects.

The mayor convened the Philippine National Police and Joint Task Force Gensan and ordered them for the immediate resolution of the case.

“I want to pin down immediately whoever are behind this explosion. I don’t want these people to create more havoc to Gensan,” the mayor stated.

Gensan is steadily progressing. This blast will somehow be a deterrent to the vibrant economy of the city, especially to the entry of investments,” Rivera added.

“I want all Generals to be strong in these times. Let us not blame and point fingers because that won’t really help.    Business leaders called on local residents on Wednesday to remain calm and resilient in the wake of the explosion.

Lawyer Raul Miguel, president of the General Santos City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc., said residents should continue with their lives, activities and businesses but with stronger resolve to fight the criminal elements who were behind the attack.

“Let us endure, prevail and prosper amidst all adversities and challenges,” he said in a text message sent to the media.

The explosion In Lamitan City took place around 9 p.m.causing panic among residents.

DXNO Radio Station Manager Richard Falcatan said residents were thrown into panic after the loud explosion followed by the the sound of police sirens in the city’s streets.

After 45 minutes of search at the blast, investigators found a grenade safety lever and a fragment at the warehouse owned by a 37-year-old businessman.

Police Regional Director Chief Supt. Basbas said police units are all on heightened alert status since the first anniversary of the September 9 MNLF attack in Zamboanga City.

“We are calling on all stakeholders to help the police combat terrorism,”Basbas said. — With report from Richard Falcatan